How To Keep White Nail Polish From Turning Yellow

There’s nothing worse than getting a new manicure, only to have your nails change color within days. So, how do you keep white nail polish from turning yellow? 

a closed fist around a grey jumper with white nail polish on long fingernails.

To keep white nail polish from turning yellow, you should wear gloves while cleaning, consider quitting smoking, reduce sun exposure, use a top coat, opt for high-quality nail polish, and visit a salon for your manicures. 

This article will cover why nail polish turns yellow and how to prevent it from happening. In addition, we will look at how to keep your nails looking clean.

First, let’s discuss why it’s essential to use quality nail polish. 

Importance Of Quality Nail Polish 

No one wants to spend an arm and a leg on nail polish, but finding quality nail polish has its benefits. When looking for the best nail polish, always look at the reviews from other users.

User reviews can tell you anything you should be aware of before purchasing specific nail polish. 

Here are a few of the benefits you will see from using quality nail polish:

  • Polish lasts longer
  • Nails less likely to turn yellow 
  • Dries quicker
  • Fewer coats required 

It’s also a wise idea to find nail polishes with all-natural ingredients and avoid any that contain formaldehyde, dibutyl phthalate, and toluene.

Unfortunately, long-term exposure to substances like toluene can cause headaches and dizziness. 

In addition to finding quality nail polishes, you also want to find a quality top and base coat to ensure your polish lasts longer. It’s best to avoid any 2-in-1 products because you will get better results with individual bottles. 

Why Does White Nail Polish Turn Yellow?

There are numerous reasons white nail polish turns yellow; sometimes, you must reevaluate your daily routine to figure out the cause.

Here are the main reasons why white nail polish turns yellow:

Low-Quality Nail Polish 

Unfortunately, you get what you pay for, and nail polish is no exception. So while a good deal is always lovely, low-quality white nail polish can turn yellow. 

Under And Over Exposure To UV Light 

If your nail tech is unfamiliar with the correct curing process, under and overexposure to UV light can lead to yellowing nails.

While curing is vital for certain nail services, you don’t want to spend too much or too little time under the light. 

Contact With Strong Chemicals

If you’ve recently done a deep cleaning of your home, then the chemicals you used may have caused the yellowing of your white nail polish.

Cleaning supplies, hair dye, and skin care products are just some of the products that may cause the yellowing of your white nails. 

You Are In Close Contact With Cigarette Smoke

Whether you are a smoker or in close contact with one, cigarette smoke can cause the yellowing of white nail polish. If you are a smoker, you’ll likely notice your most dominant hand with the majority of staining. 

Self-Tanners Or Sunlight 

Using self-tanners protects your skin from the dangerous UV rays of the sun, but it can cause yellowing of your white nail polish. 

If you’ve hit the beach lately, you’ll likely notice that sunlight has caused your perfect manicure to turn slightly yellow. 

Finally, it’s best to stay away from tanning beds and not just to protect your skin. For example, tanning beds have harmful UV beds that can turn your white nails yellow. 

Staining From Food 

If you love to be in the kitchen, then some of your favorite ingredients could be behind the yellow stain on your nails.

The following spices and ingredients can cause white nail polish to turn yellow:

  • Turmeric
  • Curries
  • Mangoes
  • Mustard 

Yellow Nails Could Signify A Fungus Infection 

If you do suspect a fungus infection, it’s best if you contact your doctor, as they can prescribe medication. Other symptoms you should look for are peeling and flaking of your nails. 

You can get fungus infections from unsanitary nail tools and salons that don’t sterilize their equipment.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nail infections occur when dirt enters cracks along your fingernails.

So, if you aren’t using clean equipment, you are allowing dirt to penetrate your skin. 

How To Keep White Nail Polish From Turning Yellow 

Closeup of nails with while nail polish.

Prevention is key when keeping your white nail polish from turning yellow.

While nothing is fool-proof, taking preventative measures can help your manicure last. 

1. Wear Gloves While Cleaning 

If you are cleaning or cooking with staining foods, it’s vital to wear gloves to protect your nails. It would also be a good idea to inspect them for holes each time you use them. 

2. Quit Smoking

Smoking is a hard habit to kick, but quitting smoking can help keep your white nail polish turning yellow. But, of course, you will get plenty of other health benefits from not smoking. 

3. Reduce Sun Exposure 

Excessive exposure to the sun will reduce the brightness of your white nails. While you always want to wear sunscreen outside, you can also wear gloves while driving. 

4. Use A Top Coat 

Applying a top coat a few days after your manicure can help prevent any staining caused by everyday actions like hand sanitizer and soap. Even if your nail tech applies a top coat, it will slowly fade away. 

5. Use A High-Quality Nail Polish 

High-quality nail polishes are less likely to be stained by everyday elements.

In addition, while they might be pricier than a lower-quality polish, you end up using less of the higher-quality polish, allowing the bottle to last longer. 

6. Visit A Salon 

A reputable salon has the tools and practices to ensure your nails don’t turn yellow. So, while it’s convenient to give yourself a manicure at home, visiting a salon can help keep your nails looking their best.

How To Clean White Gel Nails 

While staining your white gel nails is a nuisance, there are ways to help bring your manicure back to life.

Follow these five tips to clean white gel nails:

Use Rubbing Alcohol Or Nail Polish Remover

Use a cotton ball or q-tip and apply the liquid to the affected parts of your nail. Remember that this method is most effective if you use it immediately after noticing yellow stains.

Also, don’t scrub too vigorously, as you might wash off your polish. 

Wash Your Hands With Soap And Warm Water

Even if it looks like you stained your white gel nails, you may be able to wash it off with some soap and warm water. You can also use a nail scrubber for cleaning only gently. 

Use Hairspray To Clean White Gel Nails

First, spray a generous amount of hairspray over your nails, and then use a cotton ball to wipe off any stains.

Also, you’ll want to put a towel under your nails so you don’t get hairspray everywhere. Finally, don’t forget to wash your hands thoroughly afterward. 

Make A Lemon And Baking Soda Mixture

Both baking soda and lemons are bleaching agents, allowing them to help clean any staining on your white gel nails.

You’ll want to squeeze a lemon into a water bowl and add at least one tablespoon of baking soda. Finally, soak your fingers for at least 10-15 minutes. 

Use Tea Tree Oil

Tea tree oil is an excellent product to have around the house. First, soak your nails in two tablespoons of tea tree oil and a bowl of water for 10 minutes.

You might have to repeat the soaking process if the yellowing has difficulty coming off. 

Can My Base Coating Cause Yellowing?

Beautiful groomed woman's hands with white nails with artificial red roses.

A basecoat can turn yellow if it is clear and left on your nails for an extended period. To prevent your basecoat from turning yellow, opt for one that has color and isn’t clear. 

In addition, you always want to ensure each coating is dry before applying the next one. For example, if you don’t let the basecoat properly dry, you are more susceptible to yellow staining. 

Can My Top Coat Cause Yellowing?

Your top coat can cause yellowing if not applied correctly. Like with your basecoat, you want to ensure each layer is dry before adding another.

You may notice yellowing if you use a top coat as your base, which you want to avoid. 

Can My Gel Powder Cause Yellowing?

Gel powder does not turn yellow on its own but will turn yellow if you expose the powder to certain elements.

In addition, if you attempt to apply gel nails at home and don’t have the proper curing equipment, you will likely see your nails turn yellow. 

A nail salon has UV and LED lamps that help the nails appropriately set and will help reduce the chances of your nails turning yellow. 

Will Dip Powder Turn My White Nails Yellow?

Dip powder can turn white nails yellow if contaminated with other products. The powder is pure and can stain if other liquids interfere with the powder.

In addition, if yellowing occurs soon after application, you or your tech did not correctly prepare the powder formula. 

Also, you can find zinc stearate in dip powder, and if it’s left out of the creation process, the powder is more likely to turn yellow.

So if you constantly are experiencing yellow from dip powder, you probably want to find a new brand. 

Will Acrylics Turn My White Nails Yellow?

Acrylics can turn white nails yellow if not correctly applied to your natural nails. Also, any environmental factors or chemical exposure can change the color of your acrylics. 

However, to keep your acrylics from turning yellow, ensure you receive a base and top coating and use UV or LED light to help cure. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Does vinegar make your nail color last longer?

Vinegar can help stretch out the life of your manicure by removing the oils on your nails before applying nail polish. First, soak your fingers in a bowl with half a cup of warm water and two teaspoons of either white or apple cider vinegar. You then can proceed with painting your nails as usual. 

Why did my gel nails turn yellow?

Gel nails turn yellow because of exposure to certain chemicals, cleaning agents, make-up products, skin care products, and hair dyes. However, you should always protect your nails if handling one of these substances. 

How can I make my nail polish last longer?

To help your nail polish last longer, avoid picking or biting your nails, don’t soak your nails, allow your polish to set completely, and don’t soak your nails in water. A proper manicure can last for one or two weeks if you take care of your nails.